Today Sweden’s fourth national pension fund company, AP4, announced via a press statement that it is to divest from firms involved in the production of nuclear weapons, such as Airbus, Boeing and Raytheon. In June last year, AP4 had more than 2.5 billion Swedish kronor (around 250 million euros) invested in companies linked to the nuclear industry.
The news follows a change of rules which came into force on the 1st of January whereby pension funds should be managed in an “exemplary manner” with regard to responsible investment and responsible ownership.
In the statement, the company said, “AP4 now increases its ambitions within sustainability based on the new law regarding exemplary asset management and has decided to divest from companies related to nuclear weapons and oil sand.”
Adding, “AP4 is of the view that an exemplary interpretation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) supports the decision not to invest in companies involved in nuclear weapons. AP4 assesses that the current upgrades and modernizations of nuclear weapon systems are not aligned with the intention of long-term disarmament as expressed in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Swedish anti-nuclear campaigners were ecstatic on hearing the news.
“Divesting from companies linked to nuclear weapons is an important step towards a nuclear-free world. We in Swedish Physicians against Nuclear weapons have long worked so that our pension money is not invested in weapons of mass destruction, so we warmly welcome this decision,” said Josefin Lind, Secretary General of Swedish Physicians against Nuclear Weapons in a press statement.
She continued, “We now expect AP1–3 to follow the Fourth AP Fund’s step of blacklisting investments in nuclear weapons. Today, when nuclear states are spending billions on maintaining their nuclear weapons instead of abolishing them, this is an important step in the work of stigmatizing nuclear weapons. It also sends an important signal to the nuclear weapons countries and other investors.”
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and Swedish herself, welcomed the announcement on twitter.
Great news from our ICAN partners in Sweden, one of the main Swedish pension funds stops investing in nuclear weapons. The #nuclearban treaty continues to show practical results! https://t.co/7LifGpsmsf
— Beatrice Fihn (@BeaFihn) 16 January 2019
Regardless of the justification for divestment, what is clear is that divestment is having an increasing effect on nuclear weapons producers, and this is a result of the renewed emphasis on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons coming out of the work done by the International Committee of the Red Cross (Nobel Peace Prize 1917, 1944, 1963) and ICAN (Nobel Peace Prize 2017), among others, which led to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The “Don’t Bank on the Bomb” campaign and annual report from Dutch peace organisation PAX has been increasingly vociferous in making the case for divestment from nuclear weapons.